History of The Lido
In 1897 an elegant birdcage bandstand was built west of Worthing Pier by W McFarland (Glasgow). For nearly thirty years holidaymakers and residents enjoyed numerous band concerts and the Worthing Borough Band regularly performed there.
Then in 1907 a shelter was erected between the bandstand and beach to provide seating for promenaders to enjoy the music in comfort.
The bandstand was demolished in 1925 and replaced with a D-shaped Band Enclosure (now a grade 2 Listed building), designed by Adshead and Ramsey.
The new band enclosure cost £25,000 and seated 2184 people. It was opened on 1st August 1925 and the Royal Engineers Band were the first to perform.
The original sloping canopy over the stage was replaced in 1929 by the present domed roof.
Over the years interest in band music declined and eventually in 1957 the site was converted into an unheated swimming pool and renamed the Lido.
The Lido was a popular venue before Spain and the Costas became tourist destinations. The Lido pool contained purified seawater and was open until 1988 when it held dolphins from the Brighton Sealife Centre for a year whilst their permanent accommodation was being rebuilt.
According to the 1960 tourist guide admission to the Lido was 1/6 for adults and 9d for children and spectators.
In the Winter of 1989/90 the pool was finally built over and the present day Family Entertainment Centre was developed on the site.
The site has remained as a Family Entertainment Centre ever since and in 2014 planning permission was granted for a semi-retractable roof to cover the outside area subject to securing necessary funding.
From 2015 onwards the bandstand has been brought back to life with varied programmes of live entertainment held throughout the summer each year and in 2017 the site was transformed into a film set for a Laurell & Hardy film which was released in spring 2018.
For much of 2020 and the first part of 2021 much of the Family Entertainment Centre was closed due to restrictions in place for the global COVID-19 pandemic.
From the end of 2020 parts of the site have been closed to the public with restrictions on both weight and capacity imposed in many areas due to structural issues that have been identified with the supporting structure which has spent around 100 years exposed to the sea. The Entertainment Centre is however still operating as close to normal as is practically possible.